Afghanistan to serve as gateway to Central Asia for extending Economic outreach: NA Speaker

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Raja Furqan Ahmed;

Islamabad,(Parliament Times): National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser has termed relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan eternal and intertwined in the bonds of religion, history and culture. The Speaker said that connecting people, building peace and promoting cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan was in the best interest of both the countries. The Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser said this while addressing the meeting of the 7th Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Committee in Islamabad on Wednesday. The meeting of the Joint Committee is being attended by eminent personalities from Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Wide range of issues including enhancing bilateral relations, connecting people, building peace and promoting cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan were discussed. Speaker Asad Qaiser while addressing the meeting said that people of Pakistan regardless of ethnicities are bound together by everlasting cultural, religious and historic affinities. He said that a peaceful Afghanistan was in the larger interest of Pakistan. He commended the commitment of political leadership of both the countries for fostering parliamentary, economic and people to people relations. He said that Parliament feeling the need to bring both the countries more closer activated the Parliamentary Friendship Group comprising all the political parties in the parliament.
Apprising the meeting about his Parliamentary initiatives, the Speaker Asad Qaiser said that recommendations on removing impediments hindering the smooth trade and peoples’ movement across the border have been addressed and recommendation thereupon was forwarded to Executive. He said that it was heartening to note that more than eighty per cent of the recommendations had been implemented whereas easing visas restrictions approved by the Federal Cabinet and implemented had largely eased the movement of Afghan Traders, students and patients to travel to Pakistan. He said that enhancing trade activities would boost the economies of both countries. He said that stuck up bilateral economic activity due to covid-19 especially the Afghan Transit Trade was eased down. He also informed that the proposal for allowing movement of vehicles from both the countries had been forwarded to the government.
Speaking about the significance of Afghanistan, the Speaker said that Afghanistan could serve as a gateway to Central Asia due to its geographical location. He said that the advent of CPEC had created immense economic opportunities in Pakistan thus extending the economic outreach to Central Asia would be beneficial for Pakistan as well as Afghanistan. He also suggested for establishment of border markets. He said that the establishment of such markets would generate employment opportunities and induce upwards momentum in trade activities.
Expressing his Optimism, the Speaker said that the peace process would lead to internal stability and economic prosperity in Afghanistan. He said that people of both countries would benefit from easing cross-border movement and providing economic opportunities to their citizens.
Referring to his recent interaction with Speaker of Afghan Wolesi Jirga Mir Rehman Rehmani and Dr Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council of the Afghan National Reconciliation, Speaker Asad Qaiser said that they both had agreed to boost meaningful and comprehensive collaboration between both the countries. He said that interaction between legislative bodies would also further strengthen bilateral relations. He said that he had accepted the invitation of his Afghan counterpart and would visit Afghanistan.

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